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The History Of The Oakland Raiders and Players From HBCU: Willie Brown

Honor Warren Wells TheTorch@dbintayaelSenior Writer IIApril 7, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - 2006:  Willie Brown of the Oakland Raiders poses for his 2006 NFL headshot at photo day in Oakland, California. (Photo by Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images

Have you heard of schools like Philander Smith, Huston-Tillotson, Wiley College, Prairie View University, Texas Southern University, Southern University and Grambling University?

These are historically black colleges and I am wondering how many Oakland Raiders have come from these schools.

One reason I ponder the question is that years ago, after integration, many of these schools were struggling to survive. It seems the best teachers left and the best students also left to enter other school environments.

It has taken years for these schools to get their footing back after the growing pains of American integration.

There is always someone who can make it through a pipeline and rise to the top. Willie Brown is one of those people. He attended a historically black college and university (HBCU), Grambling.

Brown is from Mississippi, a place that struck fear in me when I was a young girl. After the Emmitt Till tragedy in America, I wanted absolutely nothing to do with Mississippi. I perceived that many of the inhabitants of that state were conservative and hard-hearted.

Later, I met folks from that state and I changed my opinion.

Now, Willie Brown, from Mississippi, worked his way through the pipeline, by first attending Grambling University in Louisiana from 1959-62. It seems Brown has flowed through all levels of coaching, including high school coaching.

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Now he has been with the Raiders for 39 years.

Brown played in three AFL All-Star games, and played in four NFL Pro Bowls. He has a strong vitae.

He had a 75-yard TD in Super Bowl XI, and he intercepted 54 passes in his professional football career. He was also a star football player at Grambling, a historical black university.

Brown had an outstanding career with the Oakland Raiders. He now has succeeded in having 15 years in the coaching ranks.

Now that Brown has flowed upstream, can he help other young NFL players with the Oakland Raiders do the same?

It is a question to ponder. It is the challenge before him.

Go Raiders! A salute to Willie Brown who made it through the pipeline of the NFL.

Note: Willie Brown is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1984

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